water turning green

Discussion in 'Newbies to Garden Ponds' started by oneman1pond, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. oneman1pond


    Mar 23, 2013
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    North Carolina
    The water in my 400 gal Goldfish pond has not been as clear as it used to be. Over the past few days I seen the water quality start to go down hill I thinking. This is my first year with a little front yard pond or any pond for that matter. It gets roughly 7 hours of sunlight a day before the shade sets in, in the afternoon. When I installed the pond I put a river type stone/ rock in the bottom and on the shelves of the pond. I'm not sure if that was a mistake or not. It looks like they are starting to get a green tinge on them! I also have a few larger pieces of grey lava rock that I noticed starting to get some green algae spots on them. I went to Lowe's today and got a water lily and some replacement pads for my mechanical filter. I secured the lily to a basket.....because it wouldn't sink to the bottom and then replaced the pads in the filter.

    When I took the filter box out of the water and opened the box,the water was discusting looking. nasty green color. The pads were even worse. Both pads were caked up with algae, so I replaced them both. was hat a mistake as well? I didn't touch the bio balls or empty the water that was in the filter. I put the filter box and the new replacement filter's back in the water and turned the pump/ fountain back on to cycle the water. I'm in the pond already at this point so I start sifting trough the river rock and I'm kicking up all sorts of cloudy/dirty crapl. At this point I'm worried, upset and pissed all at the same time. I have no idea what to do at this point.

    Yesterday I won a Biofilter off of Ebay for 61 dollars. Its called a back yard pro 1000 gal UV bio pond multi stage filter. I cant find anything on the internet about it. Does or has anyone ever heard of that model filter? The description says it only had water run through it just to make sure it worked. It comes with everything I'm guessing accept for the UV light. If in fact that it doesn't come with the light what size light should I put in it? It also has a back flush system and a indicator window. I Know now that i'm going to need a bigger pump for the new bio filter but that's going to have to be next paycheck! I'm working with what I have right now LOL! Should I slowly get rid of the river rock in the pond? If so what should I put on the pond? I will also be getting a gravel cleaner soon. should I attempt a water change or should I wait it out until I get the new bio filter?
    All the fish seem to be happy, I'm the one whose not happy right now. Help please!
    oneman1pond, Apr 13, 2013
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  2. oneman1pond


    Jan 8, 2012
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    Kalispell, Montana
    If your getting green water you need a uv light. Never heard of that type of filter.
    mtpond, Apr 13, 2013
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  3. oneman1pond

    sissy sissy

    Jan 17, 2011
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    Axton virginia
    You can add a basket of quilt batting where your water comes out and it will pick up all the fine algae cells .
    sissy, Apr 13, 2013
  4. oneman1pond


    Apr 10, 2010
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    Phoenix AZ
    There are a million ways to keep a pond. The only mistakes you can make are things that you end up not liking. Loose rocks make it more difficult to clean a pond, but not much depending on your perspective. There can be small small advantage to rocks, but hardly worth considering. Waste that collects around rocks would be the same amount if there was no rocks.

    UV is 100% effective in killing green water algae in 5-7 days when proper sized and installed. If it doesn't the easiest and most common fix would be to turn down the flow of water going thru it and wait another few days. UV normally kills the green water algae in just a few hours, but it takes awhile for for the cells to decompose and the green tint to go away. Like cut flowers, takes awhile for plants to stop looking like plants.

    When buying a used UV you should buy a new bulb. These last about 1 year, or at least that's kind of a standard unit of time, because there's no reasonable way to tell if the bulb is good or not. The amount of UV rays a bulb gives off diminish over time but the visible light stays about the same, at least as far as our eyes can tell. So they can appear to be working but not be killing algae. A used unit you have no idea how much life the bulb has remaining.

    You have to check the unit itself to tell what kind and size bulb to use as a replacement. There should be some info embossed on the unit some place. If not, and you can't find the manual for the unit online, you're kind of screwed.

    Cleaning - wait for 65F+ water
    I don't think a pond should be cleaned or touched when water is below 65F. The fish immune system isn't good at low temps but bacteria are going strong at say 45-65F. So below 65F is not a good time to risk injury to fish or stir up waste which can increase the bacteria population.

    The waste you stirred up isn't great for fish, but it's not terrible either. Like humans easting jelly donuts. They're not good for you, but they aren't going to kill you unless that's all you eat.

    Filters - pretty worthless
    Your filters are not removing this waste because there's nothing moving the waste into the filter. That's pretty standard for small ponds. For a small pond like 400 gals I think the best cleaning method is a simple $3 minnow net from the pet store. Every few days scoop the net around on the bottom and remove some waste. The stirring also decomposes the waste faster, like turning a compost pile. You can get a very clean pond if you keep up.

    Or just do a cleaning once a year. You can vacuum, use a net or empty and refill. I'm not a fan of empty and refill because it's risky for the fish and more work imo than other methods.

    If your filters aren't removing waste what's the point of having them? I have no idea. Filters can also remove ammonia and nitrite but I'm betting you don't test for ammonia or nitrite? Without testing you have no idea whether the filters are needed or not. A pond can handle ammonia and nitrite without any filter. It just depends on fish load and the amount of food fed. My bet would always be a filter is not needed.

    The caked pads are pretty typical. I used to clean people's ponds and I never saw a pads type filter that wasn't jammed with waste. That's why I consider these types of filters worthless. They're OK for people who clean them every few days as needed...I've just never met such a person. There are way better options. A small strawberry pot Trickle Tower never needs to be cleaned and is 30 times better at removing ammonia and nitrite.

    The rocks make cleaning more difficult. You can remove them all and then clean. The fine stuff that gets stirred up can't be removed with a net. A vacuum is needed after allowing it to settle back, about 24 hrs. An aquarium siphon vacuum can work if your pond is raised or you have some down hill area close by.

    Best possible filter system...for almost free
    Another choice you might consider is a 24/7 water change system. Also called trickle water change or continuous flow. You place a dip irrigation head in the pond and lt run 24/7. The pond will overflow (has to) so that has to been OK. Ways to make that work. The amount of change ranges from 10% per day to 10% per week. So for your 400 gal you would use a minimum of a single 1/2 GPH drip emitter or a maximum of whatever combination gets you 1.5 GPH.

    Here in Phoenix, for a 400 gal pond the cost of the water used would range from free to a max of $1 for 0.5 GPH, $7.20 for 1.5 GPH, per month.
    To compare, running a 40 watt 500 GPH water pump costs about $3.20 per month in Phoenix. Cost of equipment for pump and filters is a lot more. If the water overflow is used to irrigate plants that you'd normally have to pay to water then the water cost is always zero. So 24/7 water change is way cheaper.

    And the result of a 24/7 drip is way better. Much better fish health, no issues with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or anything else.Very clean water, all the time. No maintenance. If I was still installing ponds this is the only way I'd build small ponds. This type of filter system is the best system used on fish farms and high end Koi ponds. The issue with those ponds is the amount of water needed. But for a 400 gal pond, no problem.
    Waterbug, Apr 13, 2013
    HARO likes this.
  5. oneman1pond


    Sep 10, 2010
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    Winter Springs FL
    I use continuous water change in my ponds, and my biggest is only a little larger than yours. I have a 30 gallon container which I equipped with a hose bibb and adjustable dripper, giving a continuous fast drip. Every other day, I fill the container with water and add dechlorinater (probably unnecessary, but it gives me peace of mind). The pond overflows to a planted area, so as Waterbug pointed out, no water is wasted. Fish love a steady-state pond, which is what you get with continuous water change. I have no idea if this helps with green water, since I've never had green water.

    The algae growing on the surfaces in your pond are GOOD. They are food for your fish and contribute to a healthy ecosystem. They probably also compete with the floating algae that turn your water green.

    When you check/clean your filter, empty out the water (which is supposed to be yucky and disgusting) hose off the pads and put them back. If you want to clean the bioballs, rinse them in pond water. This filter is probably adequate for a 100 gallon pond with 5 goldfish Start reading about DIY filters and build something good for cheap.

    Get rid of the river rocks. There is no need to replace them with anything. Most of us have bare liner which is easiest to keep clean. If you MUST have something in the bottom, use an inch of sand.
    shakaho, Apr 13, 2013
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